Bank of Canada signals low rates for longer

Wed, 07/16/2014 – 16:50

The Bank of Canada announced on July 16th, 2014 that it was keeping its trend-setting overnight lending rate at 1 per cent.

 

The Bank of Canada announced on July 16th, 2014 that it was keeping its trend-setting overnight lending rate at 1 per cent.

The overnight rate has not moved in almost four years, and the Bank’s July announcement and accompanying Monetary Policy Report (MPR) suggest the most likely scenario right now is that the overnight rate will remain parked where it is for at least another year and a half.

That said, the Bank made clear that it was “neutral” with respect to not only the timing but also the direction of any future change to the policy rate. The Bank is taking a wait and see approach at this point, saying that any future moves “will depend on how new information influences the outlook and assessment of risks.”

With inflation having “moved up to the 2 per cent target in recent months, sooner than expected,” talk of a rate cut has all but gone away; however, the Bank attributes the recent rise in inflation to temporary effects, specifically higher energy prices, a lower Canadian dollar, and other sector-specific shocks rather than to any change in domestic economic fundamentals.

As such, headline inflation is expected to continue to bounce around in the 2 per cent range over the next two years, while under the surface there will be a symmetrical unwinding as the temporary effects currently pushing it up gradually fade away and the economic fundamentals currently holding it down, namely slack in the economy and elevated retail competition, also become less of a factor.

The Bank noted that global economic growth has been on a lower track than was forecast in the April MPR, and the forecast for global growth has been lowered accordingly, specifically this year but also for next year. The forecast for Canadian economic growth has likewise been trimmed from the 2 ½ per cent range this year and next to 2 ¼ per cent on average this year and next and into 2016 as well.

As a result, the economy is now not expected to get back to full capacity until mid-2016 compared to the April MPR’s prediction of early 2016. As such, bets on when the first interest rate hike could come will likely be pushed from mid-2015 to later in the year and possibly even into early 2016. The bottom line is, once again, interest rates will be lower for longer.

The Bank still expects that “the lower Canadian dollar and a projected strengthening in global demand will lead to a pickup in Canadian exports and business investment and, eventually, a more sustainable growth track,” although this may take a little longer than expected to materialize with the Canadian dollar having recently popped back up a bit and the forecast for global growth, and particularly growth in the U.S., having been downgraded.

The Bank also re-iterated that “household imbalances continue to evolve constructively and recent data are broadly consistent with a soft landing in Canada’s housing market.”

As of July 16th, 2014, the advertised five-year lending rate stood at 4.79 per cent, unchanged from the previous Bank rate announcement on June 4th, 2014 and down 0.35 percentage points from the same time one year ago.

The next interest rate announcement will be on September 3rd, 2014.

(CREA 7/16/2014)

Canadian home sales edge higher in June

Tue, 07/15/2014 – 09:00

Ottawa, ON, July 15, 2014-According to statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales activity edged up almost one per cent on a month-over-month basis in June 2014.

Ottawa, ON, July 15, 2014-According to statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales activity edged up almost one per cent on a month-over-month basis in June 2014.

Highlights:

  • National home sales rose 0.8% from May to June.
  • Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity stood 11.2% above June 2013 levels.
  • The number of newly listed homes was little changed from May to June.
  • The Canadian housing market remains in balanced territory.
  • The national average sale price rose 6.9% on a year-over-year basis in June.
  • The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) rose 5.4% year-over-year in June.

The number of home sales processed through the MLS® Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations rose 0.8 per cent on a month-over-month basis in June 2014, marking the fifth consecutive monthly increase and the highest level for sales since March 2010.

Sales rose in about half of all local housing markets in June, led by gains in Greater Vancouver where activity hit its highest level in more than three years, and Montreal where activity is now 10 per cent above post-recession lows reached earlier this year.

“Sales have improved compared to their slower start earlier this year,” said CREA President Beth Crosbie. “That said, there are still important differences in how housing markets are faring depending on location, housing type and price point. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell, your local REALTOR® is your best source of information on all the factors driving the market where you currently live or might like to in the future.”

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity in June stood 11.2 per cent above levels reported in the same month last year. June sales were up from year-ago levels in three out of every four local markets, led by Greater Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Calgary, Greater Toronto and Hamilton-Burlington.

The number of newly listed homes was little changed in June, having eased by 0.1 per cent compared to May. In May, new listings reached their highest level since April 2010. On an actual (not seasonally adjusted) basis, new listings set a record for the month of June.

“At least some of the recent burst in new supply reflects the slow start to the year, when a harsh winter caused many sellers to delay listing their home in many parts of the country,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “In markets with tight supply and strong demand, the strength of sales in recent months reflects how many properties were snapped up once they finally hit the market. Because the impact of deferred listings and sales has likely run its course, activity over the second half of the year may not be able to maintain the kind of pace we’ve seen over the past couple of months.”

The national sales-to-new listings ratio was 53.6 per cent in June, up slightly from 53.2 per cent in May but still well entrenched within the range between 40 and 60 per cent that marks balanced market territory. Just over half of all local markets posted a sales-to-new listings ratio in this range in June, with a fairly even split among the remainder between those in buyer’s market and seller’s market territory.

The number of months of inventory is another important measure of the balance between housing supply and demand. It represents the number of months it would take to completely liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

The number of months of inventory has firmed since the beginning of 2014. There were 6.0 months of inventory nationally at the end of June 2014. This was unchanged from May but half a month below where it stood at the beginning of the year. As with the sales-to-new listings ratio, the number of months of inventory continues to suggest that housing markets remain generally well-balanced.

The Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI was up by 5.40 per cent year-over-year in June following slower price gains in April and May. Price growth picked up in all Benchmark categories tracked by the index. (Chart B)

Two-storey single family homes continued to post the biggest year-over-year price gains (+6.19 per cent), followed closely by one-storey single family homes (+5.35 per cent) and townhouse/row units (+5.07 per cent). Price growth for apartment units remained comparatively more modest (+3.85 per cent).

Year-over-year price growth varied among local housing markets tracked by the index, with the biggest gains having been posted by Calgary (+10.74 per cent), Greater Toronto (+7.77 per cent), and Greater Vancouver (+4.37 per cent). (Table 1)

The MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) provides a better gauge of price trends than is possible using averages because it is not affected by changes in the mix of sales activity the way that average price is.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in June 2014 was $413,215, up 6.9 per cent from the same month last year.

The national average price continues to be skewed upward by sales activity in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, which are among Canada’s largest and most expensive housing markets. Excluding these two markets from the calculation, the average price is a relatively more modest $336,164 while the year-over-year increase shrinks to 5.2 per cent.

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PLEASE NOTE: The information contained in this news release combines both major market and national sales information from MLS® Systems from the previous month.

CREA cautions that average price information can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in centres comprised of widely divergent neighbourhoods or account for price differential between geographic areas. Statistical information contained in this report includes all housing types.

MLS® Systems are co-operative marketing systems used only by Canada’s real estate Boards to ensure maximum exposure of properties listed for sale.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is one of Canada’s largest single-industry trade associations, representing more than 111,000 REALTORS® working through some 90 real estate Boards and Associations.

Further information can be found at http://crea.ca/statistics.

Web Developer

Web Developer

Wed, 07/09/2014 – 09:39

FUNCTION:
The Web developer participates in the design, development, and testing of web applications using  .NET technologies, SQL, XML, HTML etc.

REPORTS TO:
Manager Application Development

RESPONSIBILITIES:

read more

Business Systems Analyst

FUNCTION:
The Systems Analyst supports the creation, development and enhancement of CREA’s IT-based Services by detailing and documenting requirements; designing component solutions; and, taking a lead role in releases of new or enhanced CREA applications.
 
REPORTS TO:
Associate Director, IT

RESPONSIBILITIES:

read more

CREA Updates Resale Housing Forecast

Mon, 06/16/2014 – 08:59

Ottawa, ON, June 16, 2014 – The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has updated its forecast for home sales activity via the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations for 2014 and 2015.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has updated its forecast for home sales activity via the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations for 2014 and 2015.

Extraordinarily bleak winter weather made for a slow start to 2014 national sales activity. As the first quarter ended, sales momentum heading into spring was constrained by a continuing shortage of listings in a number of local markets. The rise in newly listed properties in April and May supported an increase in sales activity.

The deferral of sales and listings reflects a delayed start to the spring home buying season, with combined sales for the period from March to May coming in largely as anticipated and at average levels. These deferrals are now likely to have been largely depleted, which suggests that the strength of sales momentum heading into the summer may be transient.

CREA’s forecast for sales activity in 2014 is largely unchanged from its previous forecast published in March. At that time, interest rates had been expected to start to edge higher in the second half of the year. However, it now appears that interest rates may not begin to rise until closer to the end of the year, which remains supportive for home ownership affordability over the balance of 2014.

Sales are forecast to reach 463,400 units in 2014, representing an increase of 1.2 per cent compared to 2013. This is little changed from CREA’s forecast of 463,700 sales (rising 1.3 per cent) published in March.

Activity is still expected to remain in line with its 10‐year average and to hold within fairly short reach of 450,000 units for the seventh consecutive year (Chart A).

British Columbia is forecast to post the largest year‐over‐year increase in activity (8.3 per cent), and make the biggest contribution to the increase in national sales activity. B.C.’s projected increase in sales this year largely reflects a slow start to 2013.

Alberta’s annual sales are projected to rise by +3.8 per cent increase in 2014, while activity in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario is expected to be roughly in line with 2013 levels. Sales are forecast to fall by 1.7 per cent and Quebec, 4.2 per cent in New Brunswick in 2014, 5.1 per cent in Nova Scotia, and by 2.6 per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador.

In 2015, the outlook for the economy, jobs and incomes is one of further improvement, accompanied by a slow and gradual increase in fixed and variable mortgage interest rates.

On balance, these two opposing factors should most benefit housing markets where sales are currently softer but prices remain more affordable. Sales in relatively less affordable housing markets are likely to be more sensitive to higher fixed mortgage rates, whether from the standpoint of higher monthly mortgage payments or qualification for mortgage financing based on the posted five‐year mortgage interest rate.

As such, provinces east of Ontario are expected to post the largest gains in activity in 2015 in the range of around 2.5 to five per cent, while sales in provinces from British Columbia to Ontario are forecast to remain little changed.

National activity is now forecast to reach 467,800 units in 2015, representing a further annual increase of 0.9 per cent. This would result in sales staying in line with the 10‐year average for the eighth year in a row.

Average prices have remained firm and continue to reflect a rise in the share of national sales among some of Canada’s most active and expensive markets compared to last year. Additionally, prices have been heating up in some markets, particularly in Calgary and Toronto where single family properties remain in short supply.

The national average home price is now projected to rise by 5.7 per cent to $404,300 in 2014, with similar sized gains in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario. More modest changes in average prices are forecast for all other provinces this year. The national average price is forecast to edge up a further 0.7 per cent in 2015 to $407,300. Alberta and Manitoba are forecast to post average price gains of two per cent in 2015, followed closely by Ontario at 1.2 per cent. Average prices in all other provinces are forecast to remain stable, edging up by less than one percentage point.

Canadian home sales up in May

Mon, 06/16/2014 – 09:00

Ottawa, ON, June 16, 2014 – According to statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales activity posted a sizeable month-over-month increase in May 2014.

Ottawa, ON, June 16, 2014 - According to statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales activity posted a sizeable month-over-month increase in May 2014.

Highlights:

  • National home sales rose 5.9% from April to May.
  • Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity stood 4.8% above May 2013 levels.
  • The number of newly listed homes climbed 3.8% from April to May.
  • The Canadian housing market remains in balanced territory.
  • The national average sale price rose 7.1% on a year-over-year basis in May.
  • The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) rose 5.0% year-over-year in May.

The number of home sales processed through the MLS® Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations rose 5.9 per cent from April to May 2014. This marks the largest month-over-month increase in nearly four years.

Sales rose in four out of every five local housing markets in May, including almost all large urban markets. The largest gains driving the national increase were posted in Calgary, Greater Toronto and Montreal.

“The monthly increase in May activity was widespread among local housing markets, with some 80 per cent of them reporting stronger sales compared to April,” said CREA President Beth Crosbie. “Over the past 25 years, that widespread a monthly sales increase has been recorded only a handful of times. Even so, the improvement varied by location. Your local REALTOR® is your best source of information about the factors driving the market where you currently live or might like to in the future.”

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity in May stood 4.8 per cent above levels reported in the same month last year, and 3.8 per cent above the 10-year average for the month of May.

May sales were up from year-ago levels in about 60 per cent of all local markets, led by Greater Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Calgary, and Greater Toronto. Monthly activity trailed levels reported last May in Montreal and Halifax-Dartmouth.

The national trend for new listings has mirrored the trend for sales in recent months. The number of newly listed homes rose 3.8 per cent in May, marking a fourth straight monthly gain. Also in line with sales activity, new listings were up in about 80 per cent of local markets.

“In markets where supply had become tight, we expected sales to improve in tandem with listings,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “Had it not been for such a brutal winter that delayed the launch of the spring market, the improvement in new listings and sales would likely have been more spread out over the past few months.” Combined sales over the past three months are roughly in line with the 10-year average for that three month period.

The national sales-to-new listings ratio was 53.1 per cent in May, up from 52.0 per cent in March and April but still well entrenched within the 40 to 60 per cent range that marks balanced market territory. Nearly 60 per cent of all local markets posted a sales-to-new listings ratio in this range in May.

The number of months of inventory is another important measure of the balance between housing supply and demand. It represents the number of months it would take to completely liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

The number of months of inventory has firmed slightly since the beginning of 2014. There were 6.0 months of inventory nationally at the end of May 2014 compared with 6.5 months at the beginning of the year. Nonetheless, as with the sales-to-new listings ratio, the number of months of inventory continues to suggest that Canada’s housing market is generally well-balanced, with year-over-year price growth varied among local housing markets tracked by the index, with the biggest gains having been posted by Calgary (+10.12 per cent), Greater Toronto (+7.08 per cent), and Greater Vancouver (+4.27 per cent).

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in May 2014 was $416,584, up 7.1 per cent from the same month last year.

The national average price continues to be skewed upward by sales activity in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, which are among Canada’s largest and most expensive housing markets. Excluding these two markets from the calculation, the average price reaches a relatively more modest $336,373 while the year-over-year increase shrinks to 5.3 per cent.

The MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) provides a better gauge of price trends because it is not affected by changes in the mix of sales activity the way that average price is.

The Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI was up by 4.98 per cent year-over-year in May, which is slightly smaller than gains of 5.03 per cent and 5.19 per cent in April and March respectively.

Year-over-year price growth gained strength for two-storey single family homes and townhouse/row units, and lost a bit of momentum for one-storey single family homes and apartment units.

Year-over-year price gains were led by two-storey single family homes (+5.98 per cent), followed closely by price increases for one-storey single family homes (+5.19 per cent) and townhouse/row units (+5.04 per cent). The price increase for apartment units was comparatively more modest (+2.93 per cent).

Year-over-year price growth varied among local housing markets tracked by the index, with the biggest gains having been posted by Calgary (+10.12 per cent), Greater Toronto (+7.08 per cent), and Greater Vancouver (+4.27 per cent).
 

– 30 –

PLEASE NOTE: The information contained in this news release combines both major market and national sales information from MLS® Systems from the previous month.

CREA cautions that average price information can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in centres comprised of widely divergent neighbourhoods or account for price differential between geographic areas. Statistical information contained in this report includes all housing types.

MLS® Systems are co-operative marketing systems used only by Canada’s real estate Boards to ensure maximum exposure of properties listed for sale.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is one of Canada’s largest single-industry trade associations, representing more than 111,000 REALTORS® working through some 90 real estate Boards and Associations.

Further information can be found at http://crea.ca/statistics.

Canadian home sales pick up in April

Thu, 05/15/2014 – 09:00

Ottawa, ON, May 15, 2014 – According to statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales activity was up on a month-over-month basis in April 2014.

Ottawa, ON, May 15, 2014 – According to statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales activity was up on a month-over-month basis in April 2014.

Highlights:

  • National home sales rose 2.7% from March to April.
  • Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity stood 0.3% below April 2013 levels.
  • The number of newly listed homes climbed 2.9% from March to April.
  • The Canadian housing market remains in balanced territory.
  • The national average sale price rose 7.6% on a year-over-year basis in April.
  • The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) rose 5.0% year-over-year in April.

The number of home sales processed through the MLS® Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations rose 2.7 per cent from March to April 2014. This continues to build on gains recorded in each of the two previous months, marking the third and largest month-over-month increase since last August.

The increase places activity about halfway between the most recent peak reached in August 2013 and the slowdown in the second half of 2012 that followed changes to mortgage rules and guidelines.

Sales rose in half of all local housing markets in April, dominated by a rebound in activity in Greater Vancouver and an increase in Greater Toronto.

“Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto fuelled the anticipated spring pick up in national home sales in April which masked softer activity in a number of smaller markets,” said CREA President Beth Crosbie. “Housing trends can be very different between local markets and even within them depending on the neighborhood and type of home. Your local REALTOR® is your best source of information about how the housing market is shaping up where you currently live or might like to in the future.”

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity in April stood just three-tenths of one per cent below levels recorded for the same month last year, and one per cent below the 10-year average for the month. April sales were up from year-ago levels in less than 40 per cent of all local markets, with gains in Greater Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton offsetting softer activity in Ottawa, Montreal, and other rural and suburban areas in Quebec.

The decline in sales activity below the 10-year average was broadly based. “Sales activity for the month of April and for the year to date came in below the 10-year average in more than 60 per cent of all housing markets,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “This shows that tightened mortgage rules and guidelines are working as intended to keep activity in check despite mortgage interest rates remaining extraordinarily low.”

The trend for new listings has mirrored the trend for sales over the past three months, with the number of newly listed homes rising 2.9 per cent in April on the heels of smaller gains in February and March. New listings were only up in about 60 per cent of local markets; however, as was the case with sales activity, outsized gains in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto boosted the increase nationally.

The national sales-to-new listings ratio was 51.9 per cent in April, virtually unchanged from 52.0 per cent in March and little changed from 52.3 per cent in January and February. Since early 2010, the ratio has remained firmly entrenched within the 40 to 60 per cent range that marks balanced market territory. Some 60 per cent of all local markets posted a sales-to-new listings ratio in this range in April.

The number of months of inventory is another important measure of the balance between housing supply and demand. It represents the number of months it would take to completely liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

The number of months of inventory has been edging marginally lower since the beginning of 2014. There were 6.3 months of inventory nationally at the end of April 2014 compared with 6.4 months at the end of February and March and 6.5 months at the end of January. As with the sales-to-new listings ratio, the number of months of inventory continues to point to a well balanced housing market nationally, with the measure holding close to its long-term average in the vast majority of markets.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in April 2014 was $409,708, an increase of 7.6 per cent from the same month last year. The national average price continues to be skewed upward by sales activity in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, which are among some of Canada’s most expensive housing markets. Excluding these two markets from the national average price calculation, the year-over-year increase diminishes to 4.8 per cent.

The MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) provides a better gauge of price trends because it is not affected by changes in the mix of sales activity the way that average price is.

The Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI rose 5.02 per cent on a year-over-year basis in April, which is slightly less than the 5.19 per cent gain recorded in March. This marks the first deceleration in year-over-year price growth since April 2013.

Year-over-year price growth picked up for townhouse/row units, but slowed for one- and two-storey single family homes and apartment units.

Year-over-year price gains were led by two-storey single family homes (+5.84 per cent) and one-storey single family homes (+5.35 per cent). This was closely followed by price increases for townhouse/row units (+4.52 per cent). The price increase for apartment units was comparatively more modest (+3.35 per cent).

Year-over-year price growth in the MLS® HPI varied among local housing markets tracked by the index, with the biggest gains having been posted by Calgary (+9.52 per cent), Greater Toronto (+7.01 per cent), and Greater Vancouver (+3.64 per cent).

– 30 –

PLEASE NOTE: The information contained in this news release combines both major market and national sales information from MLS® Systems from the previous month.

CREA cautions that average price information can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in centres comprised of widely divergent neighbourhoods or account for price differential between geographic areas. Statistical information contained in this report includes all housing types.

MLS® Systems are co-operative marketing systems used only by Canada’s real estate Boards to ensure maximum exposure of properties listed for sale.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is one of Canada’s largest single-industry trade associations, representing more than 111,000 REALTORS® working through some 90 real estate Boards and Associations.

Further information can be found at http://crea.ca/statistics.

Bank of Canada holds interest rates steady

Thu, 04/17/2014 – 14:50

The Bank of Canada announced on April 16th, 2014 that it was keeping its trend-setting overnight lending rate at 1 per cent, where it has been parked since September 2010.

The Bank of Canada announced on April 16th, 2014 that it was keeping its trend-setting overnight lending rate at 1 per cent, where it has been parked since September 2010. The Bank also published its latest quarterly Monetary Policy Report and updated its economic growth and inflation forecasts.

The Bank’s global economic growth outlook remains upbeat despite softer readings in recent months that it attributes to “unusual weather” in the United States earlier in 2014. The Bank still expects that investment and exports will outshine consumer spending as the main driver of Canadian economic growth as the United States economic recovery gains momentum.

While the Bank raised its inflation forecast, it expects the increase to be temporary and made it clear that it would not react by raising rates sooner than previously anticipated.

The Bank identified a weaker than expected upturn in exports as being the most significant domestic risk to its inflation outlook. It also repeated its concerns about Canadian household indebtedness while indicating that a soft landing in the Canadian housing market and a stabilization of debt-to-income ratios continue to unfold in line with its expectations.

On balance, the Bank is of the view that interest rates should remain where they are and it will continue to monitor economic and inflation data closely to determine the direction of future policies. Canadian private sector forecasters widely believe that the Bank of Canada will not begin raising the overnight lending rate until well into 2015.

As of April 16th, 2014, the advertised five-year lending rate stood at 4.99 per cent, down from 5.24 per cent at the previous Bank rate announcement on March 5th, 2014.

The next interest rate announcement will be on June 4th, 2014. The next update to the Monetary Policy Report will be on July 16th, 2014.

(CREA 4/16/2014)

Canadian home sales edge slightly higher in March

Tue, 04/15/2014 – 09:00

Ottawa, ON, April 15, 2014 – According to statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales activity edged up on a month-over-month basis in March 2014.

Ottawa, ON, April 15, 2014 – According to statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales activity edged up on a month-over-month basis in March 2014

Highlights:

  • National home sales rose 1.0% from February to March.
  • Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity stood 4.9% above March 2013 levels.
  • The number of newly listed homes edged up 0.5% from February to March.
  • The Canadian housing market remains in balanced territory.
  • The national average sale price rose 6.0% on a year-over-year basis in March.
  • The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) rose 5.2% year-over-year in March.

The number of home sales processed through the MLS® Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations edged up one per cent from February to March 2014. This builds on the monthly gain of 0.6 per cent the previous month, but leaves activity closer to the low reached in January 2014 than to the most recent peak reached in August 2013.

Sales rose in more than half of all local housing markets in March, led by gains in a number of large urban markets in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario. While activity in BC’s Lower Mainland posted a monthly decline, sales there remained well above year-ago levels.

“Sales in many housing markets continue to recover from winter’s deep freeze,” said CREA President Beth Crosbie. “At the same time, activity softened in some of Canada’s West Coast housing markets. This shows how local and national housing market trends can be very different. Talking to your local REALTOR® is your best bet to understand how the housing market is shaping up where you currently live or might like to in the future.”

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity stood 4.9 per cent above levels posted in March 2013. Sales were up from last March in 60 per cent of local markets with Greater Vancouver, Calgary, and Greater Toronto providing the largest contributions to the national increase.

While up from last year, actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity in March ran 8.2 per cent below its 10-year average for the month of March. Results were similar for actual activity for the first quarter: up 2.8 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2013, but 7.5 per cent below the 10-year average for the first quarter period.

“There’s little doubt that winter’s icy grip prompted many potential home buyers to put off house hunting,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “That said, we’ll have to wait and see what happens in April because while overall sales improved in March, there was little evidence of a flood of pent-up demand being released.”

“It’s important to keep in mind the distinction between sales activity and housing demand,” he added. “Some markets, like Toronto and Calgary, are seeing multiple offer situations for some listings where each ultimately results in a single sale. This means national sales are being constrained by a lack of supply despite strong demand in some markets, since Greater Toronto and Calgary combined account for a one-quarter of national activity.”

The number of newly listed homes was little changed in March, rising 0.5 per cent following a monthly gain of equal magnitude in February. New supply nationally has been running at lower levels since it dropped sharply in December 2013.

The national sales-to-new listings ratio was 52.5 per cent in March – virtually unchanged from 52.3 per cent in each of the two previous months. Since early 2010, the ratio has remained firmly entrenched within the range from 40 to 60 per cent that marks balanced market territory. Two-thirds of all local markets posted a sales-to-new listings ratio in this range in March.

The number of months of inventory is another important measure of balance between housing supply and demand. It represents the number of months it would take to completely liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

There were 6.3 months of inventory at the national level at the end of March 2014, compared with 6.4 months at the end of February and 6.5 months at the end of January. As with the sales-to-new listings ratio, the months of inventory measure continues to point to a well-balanced housing market nationally.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in March 2014 was $401,419, an increase of six per cent from the same month last year. The slowdown in year-over-year growth compared to a range between eight and 10 per cent since last summer largely reflects a decline in Greater Vancouver’s sales as a proportion of national activity.

The MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) provides a better gauge of price trends because it is not affected by changes in the mix of sales activity the way that average price is.

The Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI rose 5.19 per cent on a year-over-year basis in March 2014, up slightly from the 5.05 per cent gain recorded in February. Year-over-year price growth picked up among all property types tracked by the index.

Year-over-year price gains were led by two-storey single family homes (+5.97 per cent) and one-storey single family homes (+5.47 per cent). This was closely followed by price increases for townhouse/row units (+4.09 per cent) and apartment units (+3.91 per cent).

Year-over-year price growth in the MLS® HPI varied among local housing markets tracked by the index, with the biggest gains again having been posted by Calgary (+9.48 per cent) and Greater Toronto (+7.37 per cent). Meanwhile, Greater Vancouver’s MLS® HPI recorded a fifth consecutive year-over-year increase (+3.73 per cent).

 

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CREA Updates and Extends Resale Housing Forecast

Mon, 03/17/2014 – 08:59

Ottawa, ON, March 17, 2014 -The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has updated its forecast for home sales activity via the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations in 2014, and extended the outlook to 2015.

Ottawa, ON, March 17, 2014 -The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has updated its forecast for home sales activity via the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations in 2014, and extended the outlook to 2015.

National resale housing activity has started 2014 at lower levels, compared to previous years. This in part reflects payback for stronger levels of activity recorded last summer and fall when buyers with pre-approved mortgage financing advanced home purchases before their lower pre-approved rates expired. It also likely reflects the deferral of some activity due to what has been an exceptionally tough winter in many parts of the country.

Taking this into consideration, and with mortgage rates having edged lower, home sales are expected to trend higher heading into the spring, and be further supported over the second half of 2014 by a widely anticipated pick-up in Canadian economic growth.

“I expect fixed mortgage rates will edge marginally higher in the second half of 2014 as evidence confirms an anticipated pick-up in economic growth,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “Marginally higher mortgage rates are likely to counterbalance the lift provided by stronger economic and continuing job growth, and restrain the momentum for sales activity.”

On balance, the combination of these two opposing factors is expected to most benefit housing markets where sales are currently weak but prices remain more affordable. Sales in relatively less affordable housing markets are likely to be more sensitive to higher fixed mortgage rates, whether from the standpoint of higher monthly mortgage payments or qualification for mortgage financing based on the posted five-year rate.

“The national forecast reflects a combination of recent and projected real estate market trends that can be very different depending on their location due to many local factors,” said Laura Leyser, CREA President. “For that reason, buyers and sellers should talk to their REALTOR® about the housing market outlook where they live or might like to.”

Sales are forecast to reach 463,700 units in 2014, representing an increase of 1.3 per cent from 2013. This would place sales in line with their 10-year average, and hold national activity to within fairly short reach of the 450,000 mark for the seventh straight year (Chart A).

British Columbia is forecast to post the largest year-over-year increase in activity (8.3 per cent), and make the biggest contribution to the increase in national sales activity. The increase in 2014 sales activity reflects slow sales for the province in early 2013 and a replay of that weakness is not expected this year. Annual changes in activity in other provinces are forecast to range between plus and minus three per cent in 2014 with the exception of a slightly larger decline in Nova Scotia.

In 2015, national activity is forecast to edge up a further 1.2 per cent to 469,400 units. Affordability is expected to restrain activity in Canada’s most expensive markets, with annual sales forecast to decline marginally in British Columbia, and hold just below 200,000 units in Ontario for the fourth consecutive year. Alberta is the notable exception, where it is anticipated that strong economic and job growth combined with supportive demographic trends will result in strengthening annual sales activity.

Average prices have remained firm and continue to reflect a rise in the share of national sales among some of Canada’s most active and expensive markets compared to last year. Additionally, prices have been heating up in some markets, particularly in Calgary and Toronto where single family properties are in short supply.

The national average home price is forecast to rise by 3.8 per cent to $397,000 in 2014, with similar sized gains in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario. Modest changes in average prices are forecast for all other provinces this year.

The national average price is forecast to rise a further 1.1 per cent in 2015 to $401,400. Alberta is forecast to post the biggest rise in average price in 2015 (2.5 per cent), followed closely by Manitoba (+2.0 per cent). Prices in Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Newfoundland and Labrador are forecast to grow by about one per cent in 2015, with other provinces managing gains of close to one-half of a percentage point.

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For more information, please contact:

 Pierre Leduc, Media Relations

The Canadian Real Estate Association

Tel.: 613-237-7111 or 613-884-1460

E-mail: pleduc@crea.ca­